Cervical cancer is the fourth most frequent cancer in women with more than 500,000 cases worldwide and is mostly caused by a persistent infection of hrHPV genotypes. Just under $300 million is spent annually on HPV testing in the USA, with Europe as the next largest market at just under $200 million annually. Currently the CDC and World Health Organization recommend detecting cervical cell dysplasia through a Pap test with a co-test for HPV.
HPV is most closely associated with cervical cancer and categorized as a women’s health issue. In reality, HPV is a human issue in that men carry the virus and transmit the virus to their partners. Men are also susceptible to oral/pharyngeal and anogenital related cancers. There are no current commercial screening methods for men. Yet according to the CDC, all rates of HPV including; oral, anal/rectal and genital, are higher in men than in women.
HPV vaccines that prevent HPV 16 and 18 ( last vaccine prevent 7 out of 14 high risk HPV, old and first vaccine prevented only 16 and 18 genotypes = genotyping is important for controlling rare and new HPV genotypes diffusion) infections are now available and have the potential to reduce the incidence of cervical and other anogenital cancers. These vaccines are recommended for children under age 14, however, patient adoption has been lower then expected. The HPV vaccine will reduce the rates of infection in youths but not abate or reduce the need for screening in men and women who will continue to become infected with HPV and be carriers of the virus unless diagnosed. Although most variants and incidences of HPV clear themselves, to win the war on hrHPV variants and reduce HPV related cancers, routine screening and treatment must occur. This is a global public health issue.